Thursday 12 January 2012

The Weeknd - The Knowing

Cinematic doesn't even begin to cut it.

The Knowing features on Canadian-Ethopian Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd's debut album 'House of Balloons', having released three albums in 2011.  This really is the future of RnB.  His closest contemporary is Drake (whose album Tesfaye features on).  His lyrics are misogynistc, dealing with women, drugs and sex.  Lots of sex.  At times they're pretty grim - the connotations of "I know what you did / I know / So I'mma let you taste her / I ain't washing my sins" are obvious.  Then (from latest album 'Echoes of Silence') there's Initiation, a song initiating a girl into sex and drugs with the double entendre "And if you get too high / Baby come over here and ride it out".  It does tend to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

The production however is more akin to Frank Ocean, or Kanye's '808 Heartbreak'.  It's expansive - a huge, staggering beat; layers of synths and fuzzing, reverbed guitars; and Tesfaye's high-pitched vocal soaring with the line "I know everything".  It's rich, dark and surprisingly emotive, even if it errs on self-gratifying.  It's only matched by the scope of the video: incredibly stylish, gothic-futurism that is worth your attention for the full seven and a half minutes.  The overall feel is bleak to the point of post-apocalyptic.

The Weeknd is surely one of the hottest new RnB talents of the year - expect to see much more of Tesfaye's solo and collaborative work in the coming months.


Listen: All three of his albums ('House of Balloons', 'Thursday' and 'Echoes of Silence) are available from his website FOR FREE.